Ah, black licorice. You either love it or you hate it. As a child, I was firmly in the red licorice camp. Good and Plenty in a Halloween basket was an easy, no-brainer trade. Maybe it was the Sambuca in college, or the bizcochitos from a magical trip to Sante Fe, but it seems I've slowly migrated over to the dark side. With weather heating up here in Arizona, this coconut panna cotta was my jam. Alone, it's light and creamy and mildly sweet- almost like a whole-fat yogurt. With a heavy-handed sprinkle of candied fennel seed and the tangy flesh of a passion fruit? I think we'd be lying to ourselves if we didn't admit it was full-on dessert. And I'm totally comfortable with that (the dessert part, not the lying, okay maybe the lying sometimes). Fennel seed has enjoyed its place in the sun as a galactagogue for centuries. Brimming with the phytoestrogen, anethole, and Vitamin C, the ancient Greeks recommended fennel seed to lactating women to help boost milk production. Breastfeeding in a toga... what a pretty #brelfie! Fennel seed also eases tummy troubles. Its gas and bloating relief may even be passed through your breast milk to help treat colic in babies. Another point for team black! And coconut is no slouch either. Studies have found that nursing mamas who eat coconut oil and coconut products have higher levels of lauric acid in their breast milk, essentially giving your baby better protection against bacteria and viruses. And the passion fruit? Just because. Feel free to sub your fruity weakness. Fresh strawberries or caramelized grapefruit are a few more that come to mind. Serves 6-8
Panna Cotta Ingredients:
2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
3 tablespoons distilled water
1 (15-ounce) can coconut cream (recommended: Coco Loco)
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
2 cups chilled heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (increase sugar if a sweeter panna cotta is desired)
1. In a bowl, sprinkle gelatin over distilled water and set aside to soften.
2. Combine coconut cream and coconut milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once bubbles begin to appear at the sides of the pan lower heat and whisk in gelatin mixture until completely dissolved.
3. Find 2 mixing bowls, one larger, one smaller. Fill the larger bowl with cool-cold water. Pour the coconut cream mixture into the smaller bowl and set the smaller bowl into the larger bowl. Stir mixture regularly until it starts to cool and thicken. (Note: if the mixture starts to set rapidly and prematurely, remove immediately and mix).
4. Once cooled and thickened, set coconut cream mixture aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir into the coconut mixture then divide evenly. (Note: may fit approximately five 10 oz ramekins, six 7-8 oz. ramekins, or 10 five oz. ramekins). Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
Candied Fennel Garnish:
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons distilled water
1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water and heat on medium-high, stirring often, until thick and syrupy (make sure it does not brown), about 4 minutes.
2. Add fennel seeds and reduce heat to medium. Keep stirring until sugar starts to become dry and crystallized, about 2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir 1 minute more. Set aside.
Passion fruit topping:
4-6 ripe passion fruit
1. Halve each passion fruit.
2. Spoon the fruit and seeds from 1 passion fruit over the top of each panna cotta, sprinkle with approximately 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds, and serve cold.